|Martin Luther King, 1964|
Martin Luther King, Jr., was born in 1929, the grandson and son of Baptist preachers. After his education at Boston University, he became pastor of a Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama. There he confronted the entrenched racism that pervaded much of the United States at that time.
In 1955 Rosa Parks famously refused to yield her seat on a bus to a white person. King joined with others in organizing the Montgomery bus boycott and became nationally prominent. In the following years, King traveled from city to city leading protests and demonstrations.
King's preaching was extraordinary in its impact. People of all races responded to King's vision of a nation in which everyone would behold others as children of God, not defined by race. His last Sunday sermon was given in Washington National Cathedral on March 31, 1968. A few days later, he traveled to Memphis to take part in a sanitation workers' strike. While in Memphis, he was assassinated.
King's relentless quest to share a vision for the kingdom of God was not just confined to race. He spoke about excess military expenditure and economic justice too. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," he said.
Gracious God, may we share in the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr., that all races might live together in peace, and grant us courage to manifest that dream in our time; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty God, by the hand of Moses your servant you led thy people out of slavery, and made them free at last: Grant that your Church, following the example of your prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of your love, and may strive to secure for all your children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.